September 5th, 2003

terroir

Why I love this city.

(cross posted from my journal because I thought it would be of interest)

One of the nicest things about working where I do is running into old friends. Two Epicenter people were buying cheese the other day. We’ve drifted in different directions over the years but it’s always good to see them and catch up. Over Goat Gouda and St. Marcellin samples we talked about their recent anarcho-tourist travels in Spain, about old friends, and about the changing city.

Old Friends have been a couple for years. Reverb is a short guy with some scraggily facial hair and a voice that echoes a little in his throat before it comes all the way out to the surface. High School Diploma is a fairly tall and striking woman with long black hair. They both have lots of piercings and tattoos, but that’s actually incidental to the story. Back when Jacco and I went out, we bonded a little with them about being long term couples, non-monogamy, and anarchist politics. We also had a disastrous punk camping and mushroom trip to the snow but again … another story.

As I talked to them my co-worker, Cheese Goddess, was hopping around on one foot with the impatience of a bathroom emergency. Since she doesn’t need my permission to leave the area, I figured she was trying to tell me something. Still, I was chatting and cutting samples so I figured it could wait until Old Friends left. They were saying their good-byes anyway.

Cheese Goddess suddenly pipes up, "Do you mind if ask you a personal question?"

Reverb answers, "Uh, . . . no."

"Well, my partner is trans. And we’ve been talking about traveling. I just wondered if you had any hassles with borders. Was it easy to get a passport with the right gender?"

Silence and quizzical looks. Cheese Goddess plods on, "I mean, were there any other issues? Any safety problems or anything?" She waits for an answer.

Reverb answers, "Well, I don’t really know. You see, I’m a male-born man."

Cheese Goddess turns a shade of red I didn’t know occurred in nature. I, of course, can’t resist and say, "C’mon Reverb, this is a safe space here. We’ll be supportive."

High School Diploma tries, uncharacteristically, to soothe the apologizing Cheese Goddess. "Don’t worry, it’s not the first time that’s happened."

( I almost changed some dialogue to the phrase which spawned this entire community, but decided to keep it as is. Substitute the phrase "bio-male" as you wish.